The Major League Baseball season is not even two weeks old and the Colorado Rockies have been called a surprise team, and that same old lousy team they’ve always been during those 12 days. The truth, as with most things, lies somewhere in the middle.
The Rockies are not going to contend for a division title or even a playoff spot in 2013, but that doesn’t mean progress can’t be made. They sit at 6-4 right now and have shown improvement over last season. The offense might be even better than expected and they are going to win a lot of games just based on their ability to hit the ball.
The Rockies are going to struggle with good teams as they did in getting swept by the San Francisco Giants, but they are also going to beat up on some lesser teams as they’ve done to the San Diego Padres. The Rockies, just based on their ability to score runs, are going to win a lot of games at Coors Field. Most people thought the offense would be good, but it might be better than any of us expected. Yes, they will continue to struggle against the better pitches and on the road, but they will also hammer a lot of teams with that offense.
The starting pitching, for the most part, has been more than adequate and has kept the Rockies in every game but one. Jhoulys Chacin has been outstanding in his first two starts, and Jon Garland has given the Rockies unexpected innings out of the number five spot. There will be games like the one turned in on Wednesday by Jeff Francis where they get blown out of the water, but that’s what happens with a building team.
If there’s one concern through the first ten games, it is the bullpen. That was supposed to be the strength of the pitching staff and to this point it has been inconsistent at best. If the starters can continue to keep the Rockies in games and the offense continues to hit, then the bullpen has to be more reliable.
No one has been harder on the Rockies in recent years than me and I understand the pessimism, but there are some reasons for hope. Again they are not going to the playoffs but .500 is a realistic goal for this team, I really believe that. They can win 50 games at home, and they can beat enough bad teams on the road to get to 81-81.
Will they get to that mark, I don’t know. But I do know this: not every team is going to win the World Series and sometimes we have to adjust our expectations. Yes, it is fashionable to rip on the Rockies, I know because I’ve been doing it for years, but this team deserves our attention. At least early on, the Rockies are better and are continuing to make progress. That’s more than we’ve been able to say in years.
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